Sunday 25th August
FAWNL Cup Determining Round
A trip down to Letchworth this Sunday for a match form the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup, South East Division One side Stevenage FC Women taking on Yeovil Town Women from the Southern Premier Division.
The Determining Round now a traditional part of the FAWNL calendar the sides from all six divisions drawn against each other with the winning sides going on to compete for the FAWNL Cup itself the losing sides entering the Plate competition.
The draw throwing up many intriguing ties right across the country, can be hard to chose one but settled on this one early on.
Stevenage have established themselves within the FAWNL, now linking up with the Stevenage FC Foundation the club has changed name from Stevenage Ladies to Stevenage FC Women to reflect the growing trend within the sport. An large influx of new signings for both the 1st and Development team as the club looks to push on. Amongst the newcomers joining are Lisa Nixon from Luton Town Ladies and striker Jenny Nagle from AFC Wimbledon Ladies. A goal conceded in the 88th minute last Sunday saw Stevenage lose their opening day fixture 2-1 to Actonians Ladies.
A new beginning to of sorts for Yeovil Town too, albeit one they would have preferred to be somewhere else. One of the founding members of an all professional FAWSL the club struggled to find investment and that brought difficulties that impacted upon their season finishing bottom. An application to join the Championship turned down by the FA the club were relegated back to the FAWNL. Since then investment has come in with Adam Murry becoming the clubs new owner. Re-branded too as Yeovil Town Women. A brighter outlook awaits a positive future for a club that has always been a committed force to women’s football in the South West. Always enjoyed my trips down to Somerset to watch them in my FAWSL supporting days. The squad has seen a few departures but experience has been added with the likes of Dan Carlton and Sarah Wiltshire who returns to Yeovil after playing for Tottenham Hotspur Women. Top the Southern Premier Division after the opening fixtures last Sunday winning 9-0 away to the newly created Hounslow Women.
The County Ground, Letchworth the venue for today’s game, the home of the Hertfordshire FA, Stevenage’s 1st team will be playing their home matches there this season. The ground undergoing development, first off a brand new 3G playing surface and surround. Alot of rubber laid in it’s construction. A new bar and clubhouse layout too with plenty of potential for more improvements to come. A blisteringly hot August bank Holiday Sunday, 30 plus degrees a blue sky the sun bright, the 3G pitch only adding to the temperature. I’m wearing shorts and I only do that if I absolutely have too! Enjoying it while it lasts however.
Stevenage FC Women starting XI – Hannah Vandersluis, Kristi Burling, Leah Dunnage, Dominique Godbeer, Amy Notschild, Nicole Dunbar, Cara Breckenridge, Lisa Dixon, Amy Makewell (C), Louise Godden & Nicole Emmings. Subs – Te’a Oldroyd, Hayley Wood-Thompson & Mickie Palfreman.
Yeovil Town Women starting XI – Beth Howard, Harriet Lambe, Rebecca Halford, Thierry-Jo Gauvain, Jodie Chubb, Annie Heatherson (C), Dan Carlton, Kelly Aldridge, Sarah Wiltshire, Megan Wood & Meesha Dudley-Jones. Subs – Elena Pearce, Charlotte Buxton, Alexis Bussell, Maya Ridge & Rosie Kirby.
It’s Yeovil wearing an all yellow away kit to get the match underway kicking off 1st half. Stevenage lined up opposite wearing white and pale red vertical striped shirts, red shorts and socks. The hosts with a few players unavailable, 5 new signings in today’s squad with, Lisa Nixon, Nicole Dunbar, Leah Dunnage and Louise Godden all starting, Mickie Palfremian on the bench. Stevenage press straight away forcing Yeovil to play the ball back to their defence, played forwards into Yeovil captain Annie Heatherson on halfway she plays a superb long pass out to Sarah Wiltshire over on the left she sends it on through the middle looking to pick out Kelly Aldridge making a run, Hannah Vandersluis with a good starting position top of her area able to gather the ball first.
Nixon gets hold of the ball in midfield for Stevenage picks out Dunnage bursting on down the left win looks to take the ball infield his clipped and brought down by Yeovil full back Rebecca Halford a free-kick awarded just outside the area despite her protests. Nixon over it players forwards she squares it towards Godden in a central position she opens up her body attempting to slip it on for Dunnage, Heatherson having read the move tracking Dunnage back on her to put in the tackle regain possession outside the six yard box.
Yeovil counter attack rapidly the ball taken out wide right a cross flung into the area headed out for a throw. Dan Carlton picks the ball up from the throw right travels infield 30 yards out a one two made with Heatherson, Carlton strikes the ball runs wide of the Stevenage goal. Yeovil have quickly settled winning the ball high play turned around quickly a pass put into the feet of Megan Wood right of goal strikes a low shot in towards goal Vandersluis diving is beaten the ball cannoning off the base of the post.
Yeovil’s Rebecca Halford with Stevenage’s Louise Godden
Dunnage with a heavy impact with the surface as she brings the ball out for defence allows Yeovil in behind, Meesha Dudley-Jones sending a high cross into the area Vandersluis making a confident claim. Yeovil’s attacking players harassing the Stevenage defence keep the pressure on. Space opens up on the right for full back Halford to run into given the ball cuts it into Aldridge top of the box her touch taking the ball on into the area ,Dominique Godbeer stays on her shoulder to clear for Stevenage.
Twisting and turning on the ball outside the area left of goal Wiltshire sets herself to shoot, Godbeer backing off gives herself time to get into position to block the effort. The danger not cleared a 2nd shot made left of the D driven in low Vandersluis down low to her right saves pushing the ball behind for a corner. A good delivery from the left in high Aldridge up inside the box towards the back post heading the ball into the ground goes after the loose ball herself a stab with her boot deflecting it goalwards rising a smart save from Vandersluis.
Kelly Aldridge making the tackle
Is very hot out there the sun beating down. Yeovil despite that are looking sharp at the start of the game continue to attack another corner won left swept into the area falling invitingly inside the six yard box a Stevenage boot making vital contact to launch clear. Aldridge receiving the ball central 25 yards out from goal attempt to play Wiltshire in behind cutting in from the left, Vandersluis sliding in sending up a cloud of rubber balls doing enough to put the attacker off.
Stevenage attacks rare Nicole Emmings leading the line having very little to feed on, Godden getting up in support when she can, an attack broken up the ball cleared up to Heatherson sees Dudley-Jones moving away into space on the right the pass on the money taken in her stride Dudley-Jones bares down on goal shooting low near post saved by Vandersluis.
Godden a willing runner given half a chance for Stevenage, captain Amy Makewell playing the ball on through the middle she goes after it, Jodie Chubb dealing with the threat comfortably for Yeovil in the centre of defence playing it back to goalkeeper Beth Howard, Godden stays alert the kick out striking her inside the six yard box could have gone anywhere, the rebound however favouring Howard coming straight back at her to get hold of.
Stevenage’s Lisa Nixon
Harriet Lambe at left back for Yeovil plays the ball up field Wiltshire with support for Dudley-Jones left side outside the box, lays the ball back to Dudley-Jones hits it well enough low in towards goal straight at Vandersluis however. 20 minutes played. Yeovil are getting closer Wiltshire has the ball glued to her feet as she jinks and twists avoiding challenges on the left outside the box eventually making room for a shot her looping ball striking the crossbar.
GOAL! The pressure Yeovil have applied eventually tells as they open the scoring. Aldridge linking up with Wiltshire on the left in attack combination play seeing the ball fired into the area blocked Aldridge back to Wiltshire she squares it to Heatherson central her shot flying in past the diving keeper 0-1.
Yeovil Town Women captain, Annie Heatherson with the opening goal
Time for drinks, a break in play called. Stevenage make a change, Hayley Wood-Thompson on for Dunnage. Stevenage look to get on the offensive from the restart the ball played into the left channel, Godden after it, Thierry-Jo Gauvain going back with her tackling and winning the ball in the corner. Stevenage keep the ball alive in the final third players up a set-piece lifted into the area the ball knocked down to the top of the area, Nixon top of the D gets her foot up over the top of the ball to strike a shot back in Chubb blocking for Yeovil.
Wiltshire lines up a shot from distance the strike tipped up over the bar by Vandersluis. A corner on the left defended by Dunnage at the near post. Stevenage can’t break Heatherson supported by Carlton winning the midfield battle. Wiltshire drifting into a central position plays a great ball on for Dudley-Jones away on the left she lifts a cross into the far post, Wood getting a toe on it lifts it over, the flag up against her.
Yeovil Town Women’s Thierry-Jo Gauvain
Makewell looks to play Godden away down the left in attack for Stevenage Gauvain pacey back to defend against her sets up the counter attack the ball through the middle into the feet of Wiltshire outside the area left side no power behind the shot comfortably caught by Vandersluis. Wood away right side into the box under challenge gets a shot away saved Aldridge central attempts to score, a glove from the keeper puts it wide for a corner. Stevenage struggle to clear their lies Yeovil all over them Carlton gets a shot away from distance lacks power Vandersluis down to gather. The Stevenage keeper very busy making another double save as the ball is struck at close range.
GOAL! Yeovil have a 2nd goal and it’s a great move from back to front, Heatherson on the ball deep her pass out long for Wiltshire left her diagonal ball sending Dudley-Jones through on goal, central strikes it early the shot driven n past the diving goalkeeper 0-2.
GOAL! Two quickly becomes three! Yeovil awarded a penalty as Aldridge pressing into the area left of goal is upended. Wiltshire placing the ball on the spot a well taken penalty opening up her body to lift the ball wide of the keeper to score 0-3.
Sarah Wiltshire scoring from the penalty spot.
A hammer blow for Stevenage they get a free-kick up the other end wide left as Burling breaks forwards trying to link with Godden. Nixon to play the ball into the top of the area, Burling attempting to flick on can’t connect as Yeovil see it safely into the gloves of their keeper. Wiltshire remains a threat out wide or cutting inside no one can stay with her, free in behind Vandersluis takes a risk sliding in well outside her box the ball spinning in behind Wiltshire keeps her footing after it the angle against her as she is closed down fires her shot across the empty goal.
Burling with another foray forwards for Stevenage cuts inside the ball defended loose Nixon latches onto it 30 yards out sends a high ball in towards goal, Howard needing to keep an eye on it back on her line sees it over. Up the other end Dudley-Jones stealing the ball off the defence sees a shot whip up over the bar. Wood right drives on with the ball for Yeovil squares it into Aldridge top corner of the area runs on past her for Dudley-Jones behind she curls a shot past the near post.
Half-time Stevenage FC Women 0-3 Yeovil Town Women
A dominant first half display from Yeovil sees them leading Stevenage 3-0 at the break. Having created a host of chances eventually opened the scoring midway through the first half. Goalkeeper Hannah Vandersluis pulling off a number of fantastic saves to keep her side in in 2 quick fire goals late in the half putting Yeovil in the driving seat. Have moved the ball well and runs off it have been superb through the half despite the heat out there in reply thier defence has been little troubled.
Yeovil’s Kelly Aldridge with Stevenage’s Cara Breckenridge
Stevenage making a double change at the start of the 2nd half, Mickie Palfreman on for Notschild in defence and a change of goalkeeper too as Vandersluis is replaced by Te’a Oldroyd, a baseball cap adorning her head as the high sun faces her goal 2nd half. A switch of sides for me too 2nd half need some shade myself. Alot for Stevenage to do if they are to try and get something from the game. The hosts kicking off the 2nd period. Yeovil however are straight into the attack the ball won played wide to Wiltshire left a shot from distance dropping wide across goal. Palfremian in to clear the ball in the heart of defence as another cross is whipped in close to goal form the left.
Stevenage’s Mickie Palfreman
GOAL! Just what Stevenage would have wanted to avoid as they conceded a fourth goal right at the start of the 2nd half. Caught in possession at the back in front of the D, Dudley-Jones nicks the ball drives on into the box and sends her shot in under the newly arrived keeper 0-4.
Yeovil starting the 2nd half as they left the 1st get the ball forwards at will, Wiltshire with a diagonal ball left side on for Heatherson moving forwards she crosses into the six yard box Aldridge closing in forcing a save from Oldroyd at pointblank range. Stevenage attempt to counter Breckenridge on for Makewell central on for Emmings in attack, Godden supplying a good run to her left the pass towards her Godden takes it deep before crossing disappointingly into the side netting. A great first touch from Palfreman at the back for Stevenage looks to have put Godden through in behind on the left only for her attack to be thwarted by a raised flag.
Palfreman making an impact at the back for Stevenage winning challenges sends the ball up field Godden looking to get after it, Gauvain keeping with her defending for Yeovil in the final third. The visitors break quickly as they have all game Dudley-Jones away on the right, whips a vicious cross in across goal Wiltshire close in attacking the far post doesn’t get the contact she wants heavy allows the Stevenage defence to clear. Halford bursting into space on the right side as Aldridge spots her run the cross delivered near post Wiltshire advanced again to attack it under challenge fires wide.
Yeovil attack shows no relenting Dudley-Jones a threat on the right sending a ball in across the six yard box Aldridge throwing a leg at it can’t connect. Wiltshire is everywhere in attack finding herself free in a central position top of the area hits a rising ball in towards goal, a top class save from Oldroyd gloves it up over the bar.
GOAL! From the resulting corner Yeovil extend their lead the ball fired in fast near post deflected down into the ground falls to the feet of Dudley-Jones to strike hard from six yards out through feet giving the keeper no chance and complete her hat-trick 0-5.
A hat-trick for Yeovil Town Women’s Meesha Dudley-Jones
Has been a frustrating afternoon for Emmings in attack for Stevenage the ball played forwards to the right the striker makes a determined run to get forwards flashing a cross from deep across the face of goal, Halford tracking back with Godden swinging a foot to clear the ball before it can be attacked the corner conceded. The ball in a great one falling into the six yard box Yeovil fail to clear an instinctive header from Emmings close in only succeeds in putting it straight into Howard’s gloves.
Nicole Emmings forcing her way forwards for Stevenage
Oldroyd with another brilliant save as Yeovil mount an attack on the left Wood crossing square to Aldridge who tees up Heatherson to shoot from 25 yards out the ball in low Oldroyd down t stop it. Yeovil make their first change of the match with Aldridge coming off to be replace by Maya Ridge.
A free-kick inside the Stevenage half for Yeovil presents a further opportunity to attack the box Carlton on the ball lifting it in towards the top of the area, Wiltshire ghosting in between defenders getting a touch to set it up and shoot across the keeper and score, Stevenage immediately appealing for handball! Nothing given by the officials, a moments hesitation between her first and second touches Wiltshire sportingly admits to handling the ball, an action to be applauded and play resumes with a goal kick.
GOAL! That said a moment later Wilshire is celebrating a goal scored beautifully with her feet, no question about it a fantastic strike as she gets onto the ball wide left isn’t closed down on the angle strikes it well across the keeper from distance and into the top corner 0-6.
Wiltshire continues to be a threat played in on goal closing down the keeper left side she manages to avoid her diving challenge in behind, Burling gets back on her to make the tackle before she can craft a shot. Wood has support from Halford getting in the clear right side sends in a cross near post Wiltshire close in smashes a rising shot against the bar as Oldroyd leaps grounded the keeper recovers fantastically getting in the way to save as Dudley-Jones coming in far side smashes the ball against her.
Rebecca Halford looking for options for Yeovil Town Women
Another drinks break called, an injury to Godbeer is unable to continue leaving Stevenage with just 10 on the field. Yeovil make a change Wiltshire coming off Alexis Bussell. 20 minutes left to play. Play resumes Dudley-Jones is put away right side shooting sees her attempt bounce wide across goal.
GOAL! Halford bringing the ball on down the right miscues her forwards ball intended for Wood down the line instead goes central into Carlton she reacts well aware of Wood’s run flicks the ball out to her charging into the box Wood takes a touch a smashes it over the keeper into the top corner 0-7.
Yeovil make their final change with Rosie Kirby coming on to replace Halford at right back. Has all been Yeovil have maintained high energy levels despite the heat their younger players encouraged well by the more experienced. Into the final 6 minutes of the game Stevenage are tired been a tough afternoon. Dudley-Jones has pace to burn in behind blasts another effort wide across goal. Carlton with a break forwards with the ball encouraged to go on attempts to lob the keeper her effort falling wide of goal.
Yeovil Town Women midfielder, Dan Carlton
Breckenridge back in defence now blocking at the near post as Wood wide left drives a low cross into the box. Bussell beating the offside trap in the closing moments played in by Carlton in central plays her strike wide of goal. The final whistle blowing soon after and everyone can retreat to the shade.
Full time Stevenage FC Women 0-7 Yeovil Town Women
A comprehensive result for Yeovil Town Women as they dominated from start to finish to beat Stevenage 7-0 in the Determining Round of the FAWNL Cup. often a strange game as no one actually exits at this point just know what trophy you will be fighting for. That said a huge confidence boost for Yeovil nevertheless 16 goals scored in two matches. A good performance in soaring temperatures, well worked goals further chances created. Great movement on and off the ball bodes well going into the season. On the flip side a day to forget for Stevenage never got going shaky at the back little to offer in attack must go down as a bad day at the office and galvanise them going forwards.
Women’s Football East – Player of the Match
Onto the Women’s Football East – Player of the Match, as you might expect today’s contenders are all from Yeovil. I thought Kelly Aldridge was superb and the driving force early on that set the tome for the visitors with some great attacking runs and interplay. Sarah Wiltshire could have had 5 or 6 goals today created numerous opportunities and she’s a nightmare for defenders to track as she drifts in almost unnoticed at times. Great close control with the ball always looking for an opening. Just edging it though is Meesha Dudley-Jones her movement up front and coming in from the right just as superb netting a hat-trick and like Wiltshire should have had more.
I’m not a hot weather person but I’m not going to knock it, an enjoyable trip to Letchworth today, the Determining Round is always an intriguing fixture in the football calendar. My thanks to both sides with their help today.